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LANE4’s Annual Comprehensive Look at The KC Retail Market

Despite the COVID-19 crisis and its disproportionate impact on the retail market nationwide, the Kansas City retail market in 2020 was defined by resilience.

This does not suggest that the market was entirely insulated from the impacts of macro events; however, while some types of shopping centers struggled, others showed adaptability, perseverance, and grit, proving to buoy the overall market.
Some of the most difficult challenges surfaced at power centers and lifestyle centers. These properties, occupied primarily by soft good retailers and sit-down restaurants saw declining contract rents and were also subject to more delinquent rents, rent abatement, or deferral agreements.

On the other side of the coin, neighborhood centers, which often have grocery anchors and more convenience-oriented restaurants, weathered the 2020 storm in better shape. While data from CoStar does not reflect an increase in vacancy, we believe this does not reflect space that will become available or has not yet been reflected in the data.

The Kansas City Restaurant Association estimates that 10-15% of restaurants in the Metro closed in 2020.

Jackson County, MO, saw a decrease in taxable sales of approximately 8% from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2020. Not only did this decline in sales impact the overall health of retailers, but moving forward will have significant impact on municipal, county, and state budgets.

Long-term market demand and trajectory of the Kansas City market as a whole is projected to prevail. According to demographic data provided by ESRI, current population, household, and median income growth rates in the Kansas City metro are expected to exceed national averages. Housing data—including transaction volume and average sale prices—trended positively in 2020 and are expected to remain steady.

These underlying fundamentals should continue to underpin stability in the Kansas City retail market.